Frankly I don’t understand folks who can play bike polo without a helmet on. Whenever I forget to, I feel like naked, and pretty much ignore the game until I can protect my melon with the Bern Watts helmet I’ve come to see as a necessary piece of equipment.
And I think that most people are like that these days in our sport. We’ve seen so many times where the lack of a helmet would have caused a world of pain, and few, thank the elder gub, that demonstrated what happens when someone doesn’t wear a helmet.
So it’s no stretch to say that helmets are going to become (or have become) a standard piece of equipment in bike polo–but because we started out as smelly bike messengers and other hipster stereotypes, the type of helmet, much like the type of bike, is not a specific directive. It can be anything and everything. This is good, I think, but should there be certain standards?
One thing I believe in quite strongly is that people ought to start wearing face cages on their helmets. I have seen so many people get caught in the face/teeth/jaw/facebits in general that I really don’t care to listen to the complaints from people who say they don’t want to wear them. It’s dumb not to, frankly, and if you feel as though your game can be limited by a face cage, you’re probably just not that good of a player yes that’s a personal attack on your ability no I don’t care if you’re offended.
Let’s look at some of the helmets that people are using right now, the pros and cons, and so forth. I’m going to be working from these following premises of judgement:
1. Can it protect the noggin?
2. Can it have a face cage?
3. How much does it cost?
4. How long will it last?
5. Coolness factor?
Face Cage: Yes again, though it’s through a DIY effort on the part of the polo player. Fixcraft sells face cages specifically for the Bern Watts, and you can also buy them pre-attached, I believe. Though, to be honest, you can go to a re-use sports store (Play it Again in our case here), and buy a batter’s face cage for anywhere between $4.00 and $10.00, and just mount it yourself.
Cost: This is another place where the Bern fluctuates. I bought mine from Ebay for twenty bucks brand new (it has a black mark on the helmet), but you can generally find them around 60 bucks direct from Bern.I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 50 on a Watts, though, so dig around a bit.
Longevity: My first Watts lasted for about a year and a half before the insides began to fall apart and smell horribly. I bought another (the 20 buck find), and so far it’s been holding up very well.
Coolness: Well, it has that brim to it, and that pretty much makes it awesome. It’s also the standard for bike polo players, though, so you’re losing out on that ever desirable individuality factor.
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